Bodily Citationality and Hermeneutical Sex: Text, Image, and Ritual as Tools for Queer Intimacies


  • Shlomo Gleibman York University


"This article discusses queer images of traditional Jewish clothes and objects-the prayer shawl, the ritual undergarment, and the phylacteries-in contemporary photography and novels, in relation to the biblical and rabbinic texts (the Hebrew Bible, Talmud, and Midrash). The selected cultural productions of the turn of the millennium that represent the intersections of Judaism and male-male desire include works of fiction and visual art from Canada, the United States, Israel, and Germany.... Drawing upon the works of queer theorists such as Judith Butler and José Esteban Muñoz, I propose to look at these literary and artistic productions as examples of subversive citationality and (dis)identification that construct queer subjectivity by rethinking traditional religious images and cultural practices across texts and genres, through particular modes of intertextuality and cultural translation. Like a number of works in Jewish critical scholarship ... I approach Jewish identity, along with gender and sexual identities, as a performative category enacted in cultural productions through interpretation and reworkings of earlier texts."